New Railways leave policy irks sportspersons | olympics$india-at-rio | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Jan 23, 2017-Monday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

New Railways leave policy irks sportspersons

olympics 2016 Updated: Aug 24, 2016 22:20 IST
Harit N Joshi
Harit N Joshi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Lalita Babar was among the many Railways athletes to represent India at the Rio Olympics. (AP)

At a time when India is searching for solutions to better performance at the Olympics, Railways, which sent one third of the Indian contingent to Rio, took some decisions in October last that had a bearing on its sportspersons.

The 330-day special casual leave (SCL) will now be given to players with medal-winning performances and those who satisfy norms (see box).

The 120-day SCL granted to players without medal performance has been curtailed to 90 days. Those pursuing billiards, snooker, 8 & 9 ball pool, golf, chess, bridge, tennis and judo are entitled to 120 days SCL.

The decision which has left many sportspersons fuming is the discontinuation of the half-day leave (time-off). The circular, accessed by HT, states that only in exceptional cases the general manager is empowered to grant half-day leave as per norms.

While athletes did not mind the 330-day SCL being granted only to the cream, many found it difficult to continue with training with the half-day policy being stopped.

“Most sportspersons are either TCs (ticket checkers) or work in the workshop. You hardly have any energy left by the time you are done with office,” said an athlete.

Not an easy task

“It is not ordinary training; it is intense. I tried to practice in the morning but then could not give my 100 per cent in office. I then tried training after duty hours, but that too was strenuous. Training efficiently and regularly has become a problem. In the half-day policy, we could train purposefully at least once a day and then train harder during the leave period before a tournament,” he said.

“Sometimes a team loses in a penalty shootout or an individual athlete goes down in a tie-breaker and you miss a medal. So, despite losing so closely, one will not be entitled to the 330-day leave. It is cruel on the sportsperson,” added the athlete.

A Western Railway athlete had to discontinue yoga sessions. “Training is difficult nowadays. We (sportspersons) have to meet targets as well since we work through the day. It is not that we don’t want to work, but the reason we chose Railways is because it encouraged sports. This new policy is killing the sports culture,” said the player, who has to book at least 50 ticketless travellers.

With a purpose

The stringent policy was introduced with a purpose, said Rekha Yadav, secretary, Railway Sports Promotion Board. “There is a benefit and misuse of every policy. While our intention is to encourage those who are performing well, we also want to curb misuse. Those who are good are entitled to 330 days off in a year and this policy has worked well so far,” Yadav told HT.

Regarding the half-day leave policy, the board has no plans of abolishing it, but there will be a relook. “We are going to reduce the levels. Instead of general managers, general secretaries will now have the power to issue half-day leave. We never took the half-day leave policy away. It now requires an authority to sanction it,” said Yadav.

Railways’ sports policy

For individual events:

Medal winners in Olympics, World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games

Medal winners at the last held All-India Railway Championship, national championships

Participants of international championships recognised for recruitment purpose

Medal winner at the last held All India Inter Railway Championships

For team events:

Medal winners in Olympics, World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games

Members of the Railway team participating in national championships

Participants of international championships recognised for recruitment purpose

Medal winner at national championships in current calendar or last completed calendar year, whichever is the latest

Gold medal winner at the last held All-India Inter-Railway Championships other than billiards, snooker, 8 & 9 ball pool, chess, bridge and tennis

<